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The ultimate Christmas gift guide 2023: A cultured recommendation for everyone on your list

Euronews Culture's ultimate Christmas gift guide 2023
Euronews Culture's ultimate Christmas gift guide 2023 Copyright Mattel - Lionshome - Amazon - MattTristHorrorArt (Etsy) - Canva
Copyright Mattel - Lionshome - Amazon - MattTristHorrorArt (Etsy) - Canva
By David MouriquandTheo Farrant, Tokunbo Salako, Jonny Walfisz
Published on Updated
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Out of ideas for Christmas gifts? We've got you covered.

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It’s that time of year again, when we all collectively scramble to find the perfect gifts for Christmas.

It’s not easy and sometimes inspiration (and budgets) can be lacking...

Lucky for you, the Euronews Culture team is here to guide you through some curated gift ideas for everyone on your list: music lovers, foodies, kids, grandparents, fashionistas, that hard to please person who stymies all your efforts because they already have whatever you’ve thought of... 

You name it, we’ve got you covered.

From practical to indulgent, heartwarming to downright ridiculous, here’s our Christmas gift guide for 2023: 

FOR THE MUSIC LOVER

Consider a custom mixtape
Consider a custom mixtapeCanva

In a world oversaturated with instant streaming, digital music and metaverse nonsense, imagine the joy of gifting your music-loving pal with a custom mixtape on a humble cassette tape.

Now if you identify yourself as Gen X or older, then this concept won’t be anything new to you. But for all the younger readers, let me explain.The process is simple: curate a selection of personal songs that hold sentimental value for your friend or loved one, transfer them onto a cassette, et voila!

You can take the DIY approach and record it onto a cassette yourself. Or you can let the wizards on Etsy work their magic for you. If you want to add more of a thoughtful and creative touch to the gift, you could even create a handwritten tracklist and personalised cover art.

And timing couldn’t be more perfect timing for this present idea, as cassette tapes are experiencing a modern-day comeback, riding the same wave of nostalgia that propelled vinyl records back into the limelight. A touch of personalised analogue grooviness might just be what your music-manic mate needs. Theo Farrant

FOR THE CINEPHILE

You're either Kenough or getting haunted - you pick
You're either Kenough or getting haunted - you pickMattel - A24

There are so many options to go for when thinking about the film lover(s) in your life. Movie merch, posters, DVD / BluRay boxsets, figurines... The list is endless.

A close runner-up for our main pick is the party hand from Talk To Me. If you recall, the best horror film of 2023 centred around a mitt you had to hold in order to communicate with the dead. The directorial debut of YouTubers turned horror darlings the Philippou brothers made our Top Films of 2023 So Far list, and you can expect it to feature in our end of year roundup. So, gift a cinephile the replica of the embalmed limb of a medium. It looks threatening, and it’s a great conversation starter around a coffee. And tempting though it may be, just don’t give it a try. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know nothing good can come of it.

However, our top pick this year has to be Barbie related.

Yes, the Barbie hype train was impossible to escape, and 2023 was the year Barbiecore took over. 

While it is tempting to put Barbie back in her box and collectively get over it, this replica of one of Ryan Gosling’s Ken “I Am Kenough” sweatshirt is a must-have. Cosy and eye-catching, this unisex hoodie will brighten up the cold winter days and is perfect for nights of playing Matchbox 20 songs on the beach, or staying in your Mojo Dojo Casa House. 

Plus, the messaging is pretty damn positive. During a trying year on this planet heading towards destruction through conflict, hatred and our laissez-faire attitude towards global warming - exemplified by the fact the COP28 is being hosted by the United Arab Emirates this year (a country which exports about $300 billion's worth of petro-chemical products each year) - sometimes it’s more than necessary to remind oneself that you are enough – sorry, Kenough. No matter how low you may be feeling, you’re doing your level best. And that’s more than enough. Kenough. Damn. David Mouriquand

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FOR THE FASHIONISTA

The de rigueur footwear in 2023
The de rigueur footwear in 2023Adidas

There are certain items needed in one’s clothing collection that signify effortless style, grace and comfort - especially if you can’t successfully combine those ingredients yourself. It’s easy enough to get instant street-cred by buying the latest trainers / sneakers but wearing them right is another matter. 

Fortunately, you can put your best foot forward with the shoe of the year: the Adidas Samba

It was an essential item when I was a kid - ahem a few years ago - and with more than 800 million views on TikTok, they’ve become de rigueur footwear for conscious celebrities and casuals alike. Tokunbo Salako

FOR THE BOOKWORM

Show off your books
Show off your booksLionshome - Amazon

What’s a good gift suggestion for a bookworm? Well, the obvious one is a book they haven’t read. But without the foresight of knowing who will read this article and which books they have and haven’t read, that’s not exactly the most straightforward question to answer in a gift suggestion article.

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Instead, one must begin to think like a bookworm in order to ensnare their tastes. 

There are many excellent book subscription services that could make a big reader prickle with joy. Daunt Books – the British bookseller – has a subscription that will send your giftee a new paperback every month for £200 (€230).

But what do the most voracious of readers love more than a book suggestion? The answer is simple. Showing off to friends, colleagues and potential love interests just how literary they are. For that reason, my gift suggestion is a revolving bookcase

Finally, the chance to flaunt your literary acumen in a whole new dimension. Jonny Walfisz

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FOR THE FOODIE

Beat your meat or melt your cheese
Beat your meat or melt your cheeseAmazon

We’re big fans of themed cookbooks here at Euronews Culture, with Binging With Babish’s ‘Eat What You Watch: A Cookbook for Movie Lovers’ being something of a foodie bible for us. We recommended it last year, so we’ll give you something else for 2023.

Sticking with film-related foodie merch, there’s one Marvel themed gift that so perfect, you wonder why it hasn’t made it into the films yet: the Mjolnir Meat Tenderizer.

Yes, you may be done with the MCU – let's be fair, everyone is at this point, especially this year marking a whole new low in superhero fatigue – but you can hark back to the glory days when you purchase a meat tenderizer in the shape of Thor’s enchanted hammer. It’s the ideal gift for geeks and foodies who like to pound their meat.

Stop giggling at the back.

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And if you’re just looking for something a bit more traditional, the wintertime calls for cheese. Lot of cheese. And there are some very affordable fondue sets out there, which are perfect for dinner parties and tripping balls on curd. Our favourite is this stainless steel pot with a hammered copper finish from Artesà.

It's gonna brie a gouda Christmas. Neither cheese that goes in a fondue, granted, but just appreciate the sub-par pun, and let's move on to the next entry. DM

FOR THE TECHIE

Pod Cover, anyone?
Pod Cover, anyone?Eight Sleep

As Billy Bragg once said, “the most important decisions in life are made between two people in bed” - so it’s vital you’re ready and well rested for when opportunity knocks. 

But before you get the wrong, or perhaps the right idea, this is about going to bed with the promise that your beauty sleep will be “supercharged” by Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover.

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This device offers to transform your dreams by connecting, via Wi-Fi, a cutting-edge blanket to your mattress to regulate heat between the sheets. Perfect for hot and cold climates, it’s available for singles and doubles with individual settings for you to monitor your metrics on your phone. It also gently vibrates to stir you from your slumber. Sweet dreams are made of this. TS

FOR THE (BOARD) GAMER

It's Britney, you filthy capitalists
It's Britney, you filthy capitalistsTheop Games - Amazon

It’s been a good year for Britney Spears, especially with her memoir "The Woman In Me" doing so well (and spilling the beans on quite how terrible Justin Timberlake has always been).

But now, there’s a Britney edition of Monopoly.

This is not a drill. THERE’S A BRITNEY EDITION OF MONOPOLY!!!!!

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Players can buy, sell, and trade some of her hit songs like 'Baby One More Time', 'Toxic', and 'Gimme More', and the sculpted player tokens feature the Astronaut from 'Oops!...I Did It Again)', that Pill Box Hat from 'Toxic' and the Lion from 'Circus'.

Don’t make us cry Britney Tears – treat yourself. DM

FOR THE DISCERNING ROMANTIC

You have my heart
You have my heartMattTristHorrorArtEtsy

“It’s my heart in a box...”

Making a romantic gesture isn’t always easy, and numerous options lack in originality. However, if you happen to be dating someone with a dark sense of humour, a love for the anatomical, or quite simply, a goth, you’re in luck.

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Present him / her / they with an anatomical heart in a box.

Handmade by Matt Trist, this is romance at its finest. Ok, bloodiest. 

It’s perfect as a piece of decoration, a paperpress, or a desk ornament if you want to role play as Mary Shelley or a Satanic leader. 

And picture the scene. 

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You’ve just had an argument with your loved one. Nothing major, just a minor tiff. 

Why not dramatically escalate the situation by taking out the box, opening it to reveal the potential voodoo doll stand-in, and utter the line: "YOU FOOL - DON'T YOU REMEMBER THAT I HAVE YOUR HEART???"

Follow it up with some manic laughter and ominous music, and you're good to go!

Merry Christmas. And no toxic relationships please. Only ridiculously operatic ones. DM

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FOR KIDS

Personalize your books
Personalize your bookswonderbly - notonthehighstreet

Which kiddo doesn’t fantasise about becoming the main character in their very own storybook? Well, why not turn that dream into a reality this Christmas?

There are plenty of online services available for creating personalised books, allowing you to customise the narrative, illustrations and even incorporate a child’s name and photo.

Consider “ Where Are You? Save the Multiverse ”, which allows customization for up to three different kids, who must search for themselves in a “Where’s Wally” style, double-page spread of illustrations.

Or for a more festive touch, you can have your child “walking in the air” with “ The Snowman Personalized Book ”, which lets you insert a child’s name and likeness into the snow-covered pages of Raymond Briggs’ whimsical Christmas classic. TF

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FOR GRANDPARENTS

Practical and stylish
Practical and stylishUncommon Goods

This one’s a tricky one, as you’ve probably exhausted a lot of options over the years, and don’t want to give off the impression that you’re being a bit ageist with a comfy blanket and some new hearing aids. 

So, consider a trip if you have the budget; a skydive maybe; or any sort of gadgets we may have mentioned earlier on in this list.

Otherwise, and if you’re on a tighter budget, you can always get this handy gift, that is both practical and rather sweet: the Book Nook Reading Valet from Uncommon Goods.

It’s not only a handy place for your loved one to store their book (and remember their place in between reading sessions), but it also serves as a good spot to keep glasses – both ocular and beverage of choice.

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Plus, reading is sacred. This wooden shrine ain’t half bad as a reminder - with scratchless feet on the bottom, so no risk of damaging surfaces. DM

FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS EVERYTHING

Converting the old and taking your favourite films with you
Converting the old and taking your favourite films with youKodak

There’s always that one person in your life who either has everything, or who says they don’t want anything but you still feel like a killjoy if you take them at their word. So, what in the name of the Grinch’s emerald hole do you get them?

Here are two ideal gifts, courtesy of Kodak.

The first is the company’s pocket-sized projector, the Kodak Luma 150, which is perfect for anyone on the go who loves movies, TV shows or video games. Instead of playing on their phone, this gift can project up to 150 inches (12.5 ft) onto pretty much any surface to give the next-best-thing after a big-screen experience. It’s portable, so no hassle there. Plus, there’s a built-in speaker, so you don’t need to worry about any extra equipment.

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If that one doesn’t appeal, this next one is a doozy.

Kodak’s Slide N Scan Film & Slide Scanner is a nifty little gadget that will educate the young digital heathens out there that cameras weren’t originally built in mobile phones. 

Whether you’re still getting your pics developed by a professional or you’ve unearthed an old box of film from some dusty attic, or just looking to relive some old memories, this digital film scanner allows you not only to view old slides and photos, but to convert them into virtual files. DM

FOR THE FANCY PANTS

Your message - their mission!
Your message - their mission!airads.uk

It’s hard to buy things for fancy-pantses. Once someone has self-identified as a fancy pants, it means they’ve willingly put themselves on a pedestal of pretentious superiority. If they are a fancy pants and you are not, nothing you could give them will do. 

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Caviar? They’ve had better in St. Petersburg. 

Watch? Theirs was worn by Roger Moore

Steak? It’s not covered in edible gold and man-handled by a oleaginous salt-influencer chef from Turkey.

The best way to attack the problem of the fancy pants is to go personalised. Priceless is the goal when price is no option. This leaves you with one of two options. Either you sneak your way into the Louvre and steal the Mona Lisa or you make them a charming card by glueing on dried pieces of macaroni.

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Mona Lisa a bit too risky and macaroni card a bit cheap? Why not hire this company. They’ll fly a plane dragging a banner with a message of your choosing. JW

FOR THE ANXIOUS SOUL WHO'S DONE WITH 2023

A squishable lifeline from Squishable
A squishable lifeline from SquishableSquishable

2023 has not been fun – earthquakes, the continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the October Hamas attack on Israel, the rise of the BQ.1.1 Covid variant... 

We even got a new Drake album, for God's sake. 

And let’s face it – 2024 doesn’t look too rosy, with Donald Trump on the comeback trail and our AI overlords gradually amassing more and more power.

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So, what you need is a cuddly plush plague doctor – a topical gift that merges the creepy dread of modern existence with the cuteness we’re all trying to cling onto. DM

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